LIVINGSTON, NJ — Shortly after the Livingston Public Schools (LPS) district re-focused its ongoing district goal to enhance inclusiveness, cultural awareness, anti-racism and acceptance of individual differences through mandated curricular programming, extracurricular program and district operations at LPS, the district has partnered with an organization called the Great Schools Partnership (GSP) to help guide the improvement process.

Superintendent Dr. Matthew Block recommended and the Livingston Board of Education (LBOE) officially approved this new partnership during the Oct. 19 meeting, where Block explained that the district’s recently established “equity leadership team” identified a need to seek assistance from a knowledgeable third party and landed on GSP after conducting thorough research and interviews.

“We have interviewed various programs, and we were very impressed with the Great Schools Partnership,” said Block. “One of our supervisors attended a week-long equity inclusion conference over the summer and shared the resources with our team, and that conference was facilitated by the Great Schools Partnership.

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“[Assistant Superintendent Lisa] Steiger and I also had a chance to speak with other districts where [GPS has] helped to make a real difference. The districts both had rave reviews for them and ranked them as top consultants; and each of those districts have brought Great Schools Partnership back for subsequent years after working with them. So we are very excited to work with them and to bring them in to help us with our goal.”

According to its website, GPS is a nonprofit school-support organization that provides coaching, professional development and technical assistance to school districts and other agencies. The organization defines educational equity as “ensuring just outcomes for each student, raising marginalized voices and challenging the imbalance of power and privilege.”

Early last week, the LPS district also joined an organization called “CJPRIDE,” or the Central Jersey Program for the Recruitment of Diverse Educators.

He described the organization as a “consortium of participating school districts throughout New Jersey” whose mission is to “attract diverse candidates to fill teaching positions in member-respective districts.”

According to Block, membership has many privileges, including scholarship opportunities that are designed to “support the educational pursuits of students from underrepresented groups who are accepted and intend to enroll and pursue teacher certification through an improved New Jersey educator preparation program.”  

Additionally, LPS Human Resources Manager Susan Burman has been asked to serve the CJPRIDE Scholarship Committee and is “already jumping in with both feet,” Block said.

“We're really looking forward to being part of CJPRIDE, and we are working as hard as we can to make sure our staff is representative of a diverse group of people,” he said.

In forming the district goals for the current academic year, this focus area was deemed a top priority. LBOE members and district administrators agreed that concrete steps need to be taken toward achieving this goal in the coming year. 

To read more about this and other LPS district goals for the 2020-2021 school year, CLICK HERE.

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